Stardew Valley

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Xen0nex

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Xen0nex

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About this mod

Welcome to my first attempt at a published mod; a simple but wide-ranging rebalancing of prices for various farm produce. Better Balance seeks to expand the variety of viable options for crops & animals, toning down "overpowered" options while also raising up many "underdogs" and giving most crops or animals a niche where they can excel.

Requirements
Permissions and credits
Changelogs
This mod is for:

Casual Players wanting more paths to be viable or to feel less harshly "punished" for not picking the optimal "meta" choices, Experienced Players seeking to extend the mid-game before they are able to easily buy all the end-game items, Min-Maxers who want more variety among the optimal choices depending on circumstances, or Longtime Players looking to re-experience the process of trying out a variety of unknown choices and working out which ones work best with their playstyle on their own.


Goals of this mod:

Using spreadsheets simulating a variety of scenarios and carefully adjusting the prices of most crops, seeds, animal products, animals, and a few animal production times while changing as little as possible to maximize compatibility, this mod aims to:

Spoiler:  
Show


Further Reading:

The points above summarize all the big picture things this mod should accomplish.  The specific changes vs. Vanilla can be seen in the readme.  Check out the "Individual Overviews" article for charts showcasing the strengths & weaknesses of crops in typical scenarios, and brief written overviews for special cases & animals.  Or don't, if you want to keep it a surprise and recreate the "blind first playthrough" experience of working out which things work better in certain situations on your own.  The "Explanation & Background" article is if you want to dive into some of the assumptions made while balancing, or the thinking behind the "how & why" for much of the changes. 
Be aware that the readme and "Explanation & Background" article may have unmarked references to some new 1.5 content if you are avoiding spoilers.  If you're especially curious, you can look through the spreadsheets I used for balancing the various aspects in the Miscellaneous Files section, which also shows the profit for various configurations of both modded or Vanilla items.  The crops sheets in particular are based on a modified version of the wonderful Stardew Valley Community Spreadsheet's Crop Income page, with various corrections and additions.  The Recommended Mods & Optional Plugins section below is also highly recommended, optionally.


Installation & Usage:

  • Install the latest version of SMAPI


  • Download the zipped file, and unzip its full contents into your Stardew Valley\Mods\ folder.

That's all you need to start using it, although there are some Recommended Mods & Optional Plugins detailed in a section below.

In particular, this mod has expanded functionality if Custom Crystalarium Mod is also installed, which will cause the Crystalarium to clone Gems & Minerals slower for balance reasons.  If you do not have CCM installed, that portion of this mod will safely be skipped by SMAPI, and you can safely delete the "[CCRM] Better Balance" folder if you wish to avoid the "skipped mod" error message in SMAPI.

Please note while this mod should work without any issues on an existing save file (see paragraph below), the full effects of the balancing changes will be most noticeable on a new save file.  

For using with existing saves, note that while all newly generated/harvested items should have their prices adjusted accordingly, any existing items that are already in the player's inventory, or in chests, or have already been spawned by machines, animals, or on the ground as foragable items on the dawn of the in-game day you install this mod will still have the old Vanilla prices.  To fix existing items with old prices, put them in a chest and then bring a stack of 1 or more matching items with the correct new price, then pull the old items out of the chest so that they join the new items in the player's inventory, where they will convert to the new price.

The values in this mod are the result of many hours spent simulating the performance of different options, but all of this has been done according to my personal tastes for balance.  Users can easily make any desired adjustments by editing the content.json in "[CP] Better Balance" while referencing the readme.txt to see which items they want to change.  For a simpler, broader approach, see Price Fluctuation in the Recommended Mods section below for an easy way to apply a flat % increase to all farm produce value.


Compatibility:

As a relatively simple Content Patcher mod, this mod should be fairly compatible with other mods, so long as they don't also specifically attempt to alter the prices of the same crops / seeds / animal products in ObjectInformation, or the same animal prices / production times in FarmAnimals.  Mods which change other things in those files should probably be fine, as far as I'm aware.  Though all the mods in the Recommended Mods & Optional Plugins section seem to work fine together with this mod for me, they may have their own compatibility concerns to check if you're using them alongside other mods.

Using this mod alongside mods which add new crops or animals should not cause any errors, however note that this mod only rebalances the Vanilla crops & animals, so any mod-added items will likely be much more profitable than the Vanilla items.  Thus to gain the full effect of this mod I recommend either using it without any modded crops / animals, or only using modded crops / animals sparingly to avoid becoming too overpowered.



Recommended Mods & Optional Plugins:

These mods either specifically expand or synergize well with this mod


Optional Plugins for further Balancing:

Custom Crystalarium Mod
By default, the changes in this mod lower the profits of crops, trees, and animals enough that Crystalariums with Diamonds would be the clear champions in terms of gold/day/tile at 150 or 195 gold/day/tile, depending on having Gemologist.  I didn't want to directly lower the value of Gems, so that time spent Mining could still be rewarding money-wise. 

However, installing Custom Crystalarium Mod will automatically activate a content pack included in this mod to make the Crystalarium take 3.3x as long to clone most things.  This results in a Diamond Crystalarium giving 45 gold/day (slightly above kegged unfertilized Ancient Fruit), or 59 gold/day with Gemologist (slightly below kegged unfertilized Ancient Fruit with Artisan).  Using Hyper Speed Gro on non-Artisan kegged Ancient Fruit will barely outperform the Crystalarium now.  If you take Gemologist, but not Artisan, you would either need optimized non-Ancient crops + Winter crops to beat it, or a fully attended Coop/Barn with Rancher.  

However, especially once slowed down 3.3x, the Crystalarium has one of the lowest interactions /tile needed, no additional processing, and thus the highest gold/day/tile/interaction of any options, with a few exceptions.  (Quartz & Fire Quartz are slowed down less with lowered prices, to allow cloning for Refined Quartz to still be feasible).

By default CCM is written to also allow cloning Prismatic Shards over 14 days, but you can disable that by removing the entry "74": 20160 in the CrystalariumDat.json file in Mods\CustomCrystalariumMod\data .

If Custom Crystalarium Mod is not installed, SMAPI will safely skip activating the custom content pack I included in this mod, so it is safe to delete the "[CCRM] Better Balance" folder if you will not be using it.

Stardew Valley Expanded
(or the standalone Crafting & Construction from SVE mod)

I don't have much to say about SVE; I assume you've either already heard about it, or are currently using it.  I definitely recommend it, even by itself.  

Related to this mod, however, are the "Balanced Crafting" and "Harder Building Construction" options in its config.  Together, these generally make many useful items & buildings require more resources and/or money to craft or build, with special attention to many high-performance items like Kegs or Iridium Sprinklers requiring more.  However, some underperforming items like default Sprinklers have cheaper recipes to encourage their use in exchange.  Overall this goes a long way to solving the "exponential snowball" of Year 1, and I appreciate how many repeating recipes requiring both more Wood and Hardwood make the Lumberjack profession more appealing.  The increased costs & recipes feel fair, as if correcting oversights, rather than introducing tedium for the sake of it.
The full changes of these two options can be compared with Vanilla at the SVE wiki pages for Balanced Crafting and for Harder Building Construction.

I always play with SVE & these settings enabled, and so while you can certainly use this mod by itself, your experience will be closer to how I've tested it if you use them.  

If you are using SVE, I recommend downloading & installing the Better Balance SVE Patch in the Optional Files for this mod.  This optional patch adjusts the price bonuses you receive in Stardew Valley Expanded from various NPC events to be more in line with prices in Better Balance.  Without this patch, most of the price bonuses you receive in SVE will vastly increase the prices beyond where they start in Better Balance, since the SVE price bonuses assume you are starting with Vanilla prices.  Full details of changes can be see in the included readme.txt

If you use the Jojamart with SVE, there is also now a patch in the Optional Files section to make the SVE Jojamart prices for seeds & ingredients to be based off of Better Balance prices rather than Vanilla.  However, note that as a temporary workaround, it has a special installation method and will need to be re-installed each time you update SVE.

However, if for some reason you won't be using SVE, with permission I have supplied the standalone mod Crafting and Construction from SVE which just duplicates the effects of the "Balanced Crafting" and/or "Harder Building Construction" options from SVE.


Ease of use:

Lookup Anything & CJB Show Item Sell Price
Very handy even without any other mods, being able to see the value of items in your inventory by hovering, or check the stats of a crop / animal at the press of a button is extra useful with this mod as many of those values are different from what you may be used to. 

Notably, using Lookup Anything on seed packets (even in Pierre's inventory) will allow you to click on the name of the crop itself and see the stats for it without needing the crop itself in your inventory.  Synergizes well with Price Fluctuation to see the predicted value for crops by checking the seeds in Pierre's inventory.


Variety / Challenge:

Price Fluctuation
Ideally the changes in this mod are enough that playing alongside a mod such as Price Fluctuation, set to randomize crop prices by 10~20% or so every week or two would enable several different crops to potentially end up being the "best" depending on which prices are up/down a bit that week. 

One possible setup could be "Cycle": 7, "Min": 90, "Max": 105, which would randomize the prices of items from 90% to 105% of base value every week, and give you a preview of the following week's prices as well.  You could even increase the variation & planning by fluctuating seed prices from 100%-110% by adding "-74": [100, 110], under "Categories":

If you'd like to keep switching things up so that you have to stay on your toes to adjust your crop planning for whatever will be worth more in the coming weeks instead of the same routine, or just up the challenge by setting most items to always have ~80% of normal sell value, consider this mod!

Alternatively if you'd like the relative balancing effects of Better Balance, but still want to gain money at high rates that are possible in Vanilla, as an alternative to adjusting individual prices by editing the content.json file with the readme.txt you could use the Price Fluctuation mod set to "Min": 150, "Max": 150 to just make all the farm produce worth 50% more all the time to speed things up a bit.


RTGOAT's Longevity
Longevity falls under the "added challenge" category, though I still wouldn't consider it to be unfairly punishing or grindy, and personally always use it.  One of the oldest and best mods aimed specifically at improving balance / extending the life of the game, which I always play with, much like SVE.  Specifically for using alongside this mod, I recommend using the "Taxes" and "Stamina_Balance" features enabled in its config file, but not "Price_Balance". 

Taxes will give a set amount needed to pay each month (increasing with the number of buildings, sprinklers, machines, etc. on your farm) as well as a small percentage of your income, starting at 10% and slowly increasing akin to a progressive tax scheme.  This helps by not only providing a "gold sink," but the progressive tax scheme means that it becomes more noticeable the "better" you are doing, and less of an impact if you are playing more relaxed / just starting out, so it never feels overly punishing just for the sake of it.
Stamina Balance gives slight tweaks & increases to stamina consumption for the various tools, which also helps curtail the "snowballing" of Year 1 by reducing your effective energy, while not being a big concern once you have a good kitchen up and running.  

Longevity's default Price Balancing is impressive, including daily fluctuations, diminishing returns on selling the same crop, and base price changes from Vanilla.  However, I do not expect the "Price_Balance" setting to be compatible with this mod, as both of them are aiming at changing the prices of many of the same items, but with different goals on how the end balance should be.


Special Thanks:

This mod began as a personal project to just rebalance a few of the more egregious things in my own game, but eventually sprawled to balance so many things that I figured I'd offer it for any other users who happen to share my same tastes for game balance, or as a tool for others to do the same on their own.  Especially since I've already relied so much on the efforts & information provided by the Stardew Valley community and modders when playing over the years. 

Big thanks in particular to:

ConcernedApe, for making a game that has brought so many people together.

Pathoschild for creating the framework for someone like me to make a mod in the first place with Content Patcher, and all the other incredibly useful mods & tools they've made.

FlashShifter for all the work on Stardew Valley Expanded in general, and making the standalone version of Crafting & Construction from SVE available in particular.

Digus for the work on Custom Crystalarium Mod, and especially making it so easy to create content packs for it.

Modders such as lech43 and RTGOAT for creating balance / challenge oriented mods, despite the game's relaxing reputation.

The entire Stardew Valley modding, theorycrafting, and playing community for making so much information such as the wiki or community spreadsheets available to players and creators.